The Naturalism of Gustave Caillebotte 1

Love Caillebot!

The Eclectic Light Company

Of the painters normally associated with the French Impressionists, two appear to be rather different: Edgar Degas, about whom I wrote at length last autumn, and Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894).

With the recent ‘rediscovery’ of Naturalism, or social realism, Caillebotte is now being associated with accepted Naturalist artists such as Jules Bastien-Lepage, in many respects more strongly than with the core French Impressionists such as Monet and Pissarro. In this and the next article, I am going to look at a small selection of Caillebotte’s paintings across the breadth of his career, considering how Naturalist they might be, and how that fits in with their appreciation.

caillebottenudewoman1873 Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894), Nude Woman Lying on a Couch (1873), pastel on paper, 88.9 x 116.2 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.

Caillebotte started painting seriously quite late: he had already completed his law degree and obtaining a licence to practice law before the Franco-Prussian War…

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